Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


It's actually been 69 years since the US dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9).  The US is the only country in the world that has ever used these kinds of weapons against other human beings.

Historian Gar Alperovitz has written about the US bombing....

Here is how General Dwight D. Eisenhower reports he reacted when he was told by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson that the atomic bomb would be used:

“During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.”

Some might be surprised to learn that the Pentagon is still preparing for nuclear war - particularly with Russia and China.  On July 31 the Pentagon published a new planning document entitled “Ensuring a Strong Defense for the Future,” which was drafted by the National Defense Panel, a group of former top civilian and military officials, commissioned by Congress to provide a critical review of the official Pentagon planning document released early this year, the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review.

The Pentagon planning document states:

“We believe … a global war-fighting capability to be the sine qua non of a superpower and thus essential to the credibility of America’s overall national security strategy. In the current threat environment, the United States could plausibly be called upon to deter or fight in several regions in overlapping time frames: on the Korean peninsula, in the East or South China Sea, in the Middle East, South Asia, and quite possibly in Europe [Russia]. The United States also faces the prospect of having to face nuclear-armed adversaries. Additionally, the spread of al Qaeda and its spin offs to new areas in Africa and the Middle East means that the U.S. military must be able to sustain global counterterrorism operations and defend the American homeland even when engaged in regional conflict overseas.”

The authors repeatedly complain of the limitation on US military spending because of the burden of domestic social programs, pointing to “the large and growing gap between the amount collected to support entitlement programs, principally Social Security and major health programs, and the amount being spent on those programs.”

They declare, “America must get her fiscal house in order while simultaneously funding robust military spending. Aggressive health care cost containment should certainly be pursued both within the Department [i.e., for the soldiers and their families] and more broadly across all government programs.”

The National Defense Panel is co-chaired by William Perry, defense secretary in the Clinton administration, and General John Abizaid, former head of the US Central command. Its members include four other retired generals, as well as Michele Flournoy, former deputy defense secretary under Obama, and Eric Edelman, a leading neo-conservative and defense undersecretary in the George W. Bush administration.

The group is thus bipartisan, representing the entire spectrum of the security establishment in official Washington. Its report was issued under the auspices of a federally funded agency devoted to the study of war, whose name, with impeccable Orwellian logic, is the US Institute of Peace. 


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